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Delivery Day Must-Haves

Packing an overnight bag for your delivery day should be a priority. It helps to be prepared especially since when the time comes to go to the hospital, the last thing you'll want to worry about is if you packed enough clothes. Your delivery must-haves will also help you maximize your comfort, ensuring a stress-free delivery.

 

  1. Overnight bag - Remember to pack an overnight bag for your stay at the hospital. Pack clothes for yourself and your baby, toiletries, comfortable slippers, sleepwear, and a robe.
  2. Cash, change, and important documents - This goes without saying, but you'll be amazed at what people forget when they've got a baby on the way.
  3. Pillows - Max out your comfort levels and bring your own pillows. It'll help you feel more at ease at the hospital if you can replicate at least some semblance of your home life.

 

  1. Nursing supplies - Pack some nursing bras and pads. They'll come in handy when you need to feed your baby while you're at the hospital.
  2. Cellphone and charger - You'll need your phone and your contacts list if you're going to have visitors over to welcome your baby into the world.

 

 

  1. Camera - Immortalize the moments when your new bundle of joy arrives and take photos for friends and relatives who couldn't be there.
  2. Scrapbook - Every second's a milestone when you have a baby. Record all her firsts with a scrapbook.
  3. Magazines or an iPad - For the early stages of labor, when you're still trying to distract yourself from stressing out over how long it's been since your last contraction, it'll help to have some reading material to take your mind off things.
  4. Snacks - Hospitals aren't exactly known for their amazing food. If you're going to be at the hospital a while, it helps to have snacks from home to help you stave off hunger.

The Whole Nine Months: Your Baby's Growth

Even before you find out you’re pregnant, which is around the sixth week of pregnancy, your baby is busy growing inside of you. Here’s a look at what’s happening in your tummy.

The First Term (Weeks 1 to 12)

The embryo is made up of two layers of cells where body parts and organs form. The brain, spinal cord, and heart develop. After so, its arm and leg buds appear.

On the eighth week, external body structures and major organs begin to develop. The arms and legs are growing with slightly webbed fingers and toes. The eyes appear on the face with eyelids, which will not open until the 28th week. The sex organ is also developing, while the umbilical cord is visible. The heart beats in a regular pattern, and your doctor may allow you to hear it during your ultrasound. 

When the first term ends, the fetus’s muscles and nerves start to be more active. The external sex organ is distinguishable, although doctors wait until the 20th week to confirm the gender. The fetus is about one ounce (28 grams) and three inches long.

 

The Second Term (Weeks 13 to 28)

By the 16th week, your baby’s skeleton continues to harden and muscle tissue forms. The translucent skin covering the body will soon appear opaque. He learns the sucking reflex, and meconium develops in the tummy. 

If you haven’t felt your baby move, which you’ll notice between 16 and 22 weeks, you may sense fluttering by the 20th week. His eyebrows, eyelashes, and nails are in place. The baby is covered in lanugo, or fine hair, and a coating known as vernix to protect his developing skin. This is the best time to read or sing to your child since he can now hear better.

He’s looking more like a baby by the 24th week, with his wrinkly skin smoothening as he stores fat. Hair grows on his head while fingerprints and taste buds form. The baby’s lungs are developed but will not work just yet. He’s learning the startle reflex, and he sleeps and wakes regularly. By the end of the second term, your baby is about one and a half pounds (680 grams) and 12 inches long.

 

The Third Term (Weeks 29 to 40) 

During the third term, you can feel kicks and jabs from your baby. His eyes open and close and even sense light changes. The lungs are fully developed and he looks rounder with fat. He’ll gain about half a pound every week. The bones are completely formed as well.

At 37 weeks, the vernix thickens and the lanugo falls off. As the baby grows, you won’t be feeling forceful movements but rather wiggles and stretches. He’s considered full term and the delivery date is close. By now, your child’s organs are fully functional and he may position himself ‘head-down’ for birth. 

Once you deliver, your baby may range from six pounds (almost three kilograms) to nine pounds (four kilograms) and be 19 to 21 inches long. Remember, though, that healthy babies come in different sizes.

The Whole Nine Months: What's Happening in You

You’ve probably heard from other moms how being pregnant is like. There’s the late night cravings and aversion to certain foods, uncontrollable mood swings, and inevitable weight gain. These are just the tip of the iceberg; many more changes will affect you in the months to come. Check out our list of common developments happening inside you and learn the wonders of your body.

The First Term (Weeks 1 to 12)

  1. Tender, Sensitive, And Sore Breasts

Even before you miss your period and take a pregnancy test, your breasts may already feel extra heavy in the first weeks of pregnancy. Blame the hormones progesterone and estrogen for that. 

What Can Help:

Avoid underwire bras and use comfortable supportive bras. A cotton one may help with the sensitivity while you sleep.

  1. Exhaustion

One of the first signs of pregnancy is exhaustion. This usually wanes in the second term and makes a come back in the third.

What Can Help:

When you feel the need to close your eyes and lie down, give in to the urge. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to rest. 

  1. Morning Sickness

Hormonal changes also cause nausea and vomiting that can last the whole day, contrary to its moniker. For the majority, morning sickness winds down by the 14th week.

What Can Help:

Eat something like dry toast before getting out of bed. Go for several small meals during the day that are not fatty and easy to digest. It also helps to sip on liquids throughout the day and stay away from tastes and smells that upset your tummy. If you are vomiting too much and nausea seems extreme, call your doctor.

  1. Constipation

The hormones relax your bowel muscles and slow down digestion. The supplements iron and calcium contribute to constipation, too.

What Can Help:

Drink 10 glasses of water everyday, eight ounces (about 240 milliliters) at a time. Add fiber-rich foods in your diet and avoid caffeine.

  1. Frequent Urination

This is something you’ll deal with all throughout pregnancy, with frequency increasing as your tummy expands. In the first term, this is caused by blood flowing quickly through your kidneys, filling your bladder.

 What Can Help:

When you feel the need to pee, don’t hold it. You may contract a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which, if untreated, is risky to your unborn child. You can also do Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles and avoid unexpected leaking.

  1. Dizziness

Your uterus pressing on your growing blood vessels and your increasing hunger can cause dizziness while pregnant.

What Can Help:

Slowly stand-up and avoid standing for long periods of time. It helps not to wear tight clothes and to lie on your left side. Contact your doctor immediately if abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding accompany your dizziness.

  1. Headache

Tension headache can happen in the first term, and women who experience headaches during menstruation are susceptible to this.

What Can Help:

Paracetamol is safe to ingest while pregnant. You can take a 500-milligram tablet every four hours. But if the headaches are frequent and weakening, ask your doctor if you can opt for other medications. Stay away from pain triggers such as monosodium glutamate, nitrates, cheese, certain types of nuts, chocolates, flickering lights, strong smells, and smoke. Warm or cool compress can relieve the pain, so do taking a shower, meditating, and exercising. Don’t skip meals and take naps when you have to.

 

The Second Term (Weeks 13 to 28)

  1. Back, Groin, And Abdomen Pain

Your growing baby and expanding tummy causes aches and pains in the back, groin, and abdomen. These are attributed to your shifting joints and the pressure from the baby’s movements and weight.

What Can Help:

Try not to stand for long periods of time. When you feel like resting, do so. You can apply heat to the aching body parts. You may also use maternity pillows to support the problematic areas.

  1. Heartburn

The relaxing digestive tract muscles make pregnant women more prone to heartburn.

What Can Help:

Eat several small meals slowly. Avoid fatty and spicy foods. It helps not to drink or eat a few hours before going to bed. If symptoms persist, ask your doctor what antacid you can take.

  1. Itching

You may feel itching on your palms, tummy, and feet. This is due to hormones as well as extra dry and stretching skin when pregnant.

What Can Help:

Resist wearing fabrics that can irritate your skin. Hot baths cause itching as well. Opt for a gentle soap when bathing and use a mild moisturizer after generously.

  1. Skin Darkening And Stretch Marks

Darkening of the nipples, belly area (linea nigra), underarms, upper lip, forehead, nose, and cheeks are common in pregnancy. Stretch marks also appear in areas where the skin expands. You can try different lotions and ointments that claim to lighten stretch marks. Don’t worry, darn skin and stretch marks usually fade after delivery.

 

The Third Term (Weeks 29 to 40) 

  1. Swollen Extremities (Edema)

Your body retains more water and collects fluid in your tissues during pregnancy. You may notice the swelling in your ankles, feet, fingers, and face.

What Can Help:

Salt retains water, so stay away from salty foods. Caffeine can also contribute to edema. Drink lots of fluids daily and elevate your feet when resting. Call your doctor if you have extreme swelling accompanied by sudden weight gain. These could be signs of preeclampsia.

  1. Leaking Breasts

You may feel your breasts growing more tender by this time and it may leak colostrum. Colostrum is a thick, yellowish fluid that’s very healthy for newborns.

What Can Help:

Wear a bra that you find comfortable and use pads to absorb leaks. Once you sense abnormal changes in your breasts, such as a lump or a discharge that’s not colostrum, contact your doctor. 

  1. Sleep Trouble

When the baby moves frequently and you need to get up for bathroom breaks, you may face some sleep interruptions that can keep you up at night.

What Can Help:

Try to take in the fluids you need earlier in the day. Lie on your left side and use pillows to support your back and tummy. If you wake at night, don’t fuss about it. Take a nap during the day to make up for it.

  1. Hemorrhoids

Because of increased blood volume while pregnant, the veins in the rectum can bulge. Constipation also aggravates hemorrhoids. These can itch, bleed, and cause pain.

What Can Help:

Do not strain with bowel movements. Eating fiber-rich foods and drinking lots of fluids can help with that. If the hemorrhoids bother you, ask your doctor what medication you can use. 

  1. Contractions

As the due date draws near, your cervix thins and softens. This process is normal in helping the birth canal expand during delivery. Your contractions can be real or false (Braxton Hicks contractions). 

To know if your contractions are the real deal, most women describe the feeling as a dull ache in the lower abdomen and back area. There is pressure in the pelvis that feels as if you are experiencing strong menstrual or diarrhea cramps. True labor contractions come at regular intervals. Each interval is about 30 to 70 seconds long and it gets closer and stronger as you near delivery. Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions that stop when you walk or change positions, true contractions are constant.

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